Programs

As an emerging museum we have piloted programs since 2006 in some of the most under-served areas of the Bronx and have touched the lives of more than 100,000 children, caregivers, and family members. The Museum provides affordable, accessible, interactive, inquiry-based early childhood programs and exhibits for children from Pre-K to 3rd grade promoting literacy, arts, social studies, health, history, science, greening and sustainability. Our overall aim is to be relevant, exciting, and inspiring.

Our programs are meaningful and connect children and their caregivers to each other, their culture, their community, the arts, the Bronx and the world. We are currently operating eleven programs. All programs are developed with the caregiver in mind, including the provision of resource materials places and ways to extend each child’s multi-sensory experience.

Our programs happen all throughout the Bronx. Click image to see all the places we have visited in the Bronx.

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Dream Big is an afterschool arts program at P.S. 5 in Port Morris and an intensive arts enrichment program at camps in different South Bronx communities each summer. The purpose of Dream Big is to inspire children to explore and elaborate on their grandest desires for their futures using the arts as a way to express themselves. Local teaching artists provide weekly instruction in the literary, performing or visual arts, designed to impart a sense of cultural pride, two to three days a week for up to thirty-six sessions. Each year, a different Bronx-related theme is chosen for children to explore through the arts. Dream Big Day is the culminating celebration of the summer arts enrichment component, where Bronx-born luminaries in the arts and public life interact with the children at a local college and encourage them to dream big and work hard. One of our regular visitors is Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor, who has attended all ten Dream Big Day summer celebrations.

Waters on the Go! is our mobile interactive environmental science exhibit, installed in a retrofitted school bus, designed to help pre-K through 3rd grade teachers supplement their science and social studies lessons. Outfitted with dioramas and authentic sounds of the Bronx River and Orchard Beach habitats, WOTG educates children about the ecology and natural history of the Bronx waterways, and about the historical significance of the Native American Siwanoy who used to live here. BxCM guides visit participating schools before the bus arrives to orient teachers and to ensure maximum integration of the WOTG program into current lesson plans. Led by a team of these guides, small groups of children participate in each of three learning sessions about the flora and fauna of the Bronx. As one group tours the WOTG exhibit on the bus, the other groups see, touch and examine animal pelts and insect specimens in the accompanying WOTG suitcase exhibit. Participating classes are given activity plans, posters, maps, books and games as leave-behinds. BxCM educators also conduct pre- and post-visit assessments. For in-depth study, BxCM offers additional activities such as field trips to the river or beach. WOTG is also designed as a one-day experience (brought with and without the bus) for general audiences at parks, festivals, shelters, parades, etc. and is often accompanied by arts-related activities. 

BxCM’s artist-in-residency program is designed to bring children and local professional artists together, to expose children to the world of the professional artist with the guidance of early childhood educators. What Is Art? educates teachers and caregivers, as well as their children, about the importance of art in our lives and demonstrates how easy it is to find and experience art. For most of the children, this program offers them their first-ever visit to a museum. In addition, they are able to see their own artwork — created with artists and BxCM educators — installed and exhibited at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, BronxArtSpace and the Andrew Freedman Home. What is Art? also includes professional development training for teachers, as well as materials, books and posters, along with a multi-session art curriculum. 

Geared specifically for pre-school and Kindergarten students, LFR is a partnership with Trout in the Classroom, a conservation-oriented, environmental education program for elementary through high school students, run with the support and cooperation of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. Students raise trout from eggs and ultimately release them into approved, cold-water streams and lakes. BxCM created an early-childhood professional development model of the program called Little Friends of the River, complete with lesson plans other resources, designed for an entire school year’s activities. We also help participating schools purchase needed equipment, offer professional development, provide technical assistance and offer monthly classroom visits.

Little Friends of the High Bridge  was inspired by the restoration and reopening of the High Bridge, the city’s oldest standing bridge, which was built in 1848 as an aqueduct. Incorporating STEAM and history elements into the program, LFHB uses the WOTG bus exhibit and suitcase exhibits to educate children about the ecosystems of the Bronx and Harlem Rivers. It also makes use of a book written and published expressly for the program, The Lowdown on the High Bridge: The Story of How New York City Got Its Water, by Sonia Manzano (also known as “Maria” from Sesame Street). BxCM and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection have donated the book to more than 5,000 children in the Highbridge and Washington Heights neighborhoods in the last four years. The target audience for this program is pre-K through 3rd grade students living in the Highbridge neighborhood, and their caregivers and teachers.

The GreenArts Afterschool Program combines arts, literacy, environmental education and science in two afterschool programs for 2nd and 3rd graders at P.S. 55. This program helps children make the connection between health, nutrition, the environment, conservation and sustainability, and seeks to inspire each child, through the arts, to live a healthful lifestyle and to improve his/her community and the planet. At P.S. 55, thirty-five children from Morrisania conduct their own in-school health-awareness campaign using the arts as their main vehicle and children write letters to local grocery stores and elected officials advocating for healthier foods in their community, which is considered a food desert. Children also participate in an end-of-year parade as part of the Bronx Day Parade to distribute healthy foods to the community. 

ArtSpot

ArtSpot is a summer weekend pop-up arts program designed especially for the children from the NYC Housing Authority’s Mitchel Houses in Mott Haven, in cooperation with the Mitchel Tenants Association. This year’s theme was aimed at honoring the history of the Native American Siwanoy tribe that used to reside in the Bronx. Local teaching artists provide arts experiences in a festival-like environment for four weekends at different activity stations: music (drumming, song-writing and performance), dance, visual arts (mural-making, ceramics, weaving and sculpting) and experimenting with water. The program concludes with a culminating celebration where the children display and perform their artistic creations for family and friends.

Rivers On the Go! Unity Program

Through fine arts classes, guest speakers, field trips and a culminating art exhibition for parents and caregivers, students explore how all cultures are connected to the environment.  By using the history of the Bronx River and the Native Americans in the Bronx as a starting point, classes investigate and research how people from their native countries connect with nature. Students shard their research with classmates and use this knowledge as inspiration for both collaborative and individual artwork, which is then displayed at an ending celebration for teachers, students and caregivers. The main goal of this program is for students (most of whom are from immigrant families) to feel proud of their cultural roots and understand that art, nature and water connect all cultures together. 

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Little Friends of Orchard Beach

Little Friends of Orchard Beach (LFOB) is designed to connect the people of Pelham Bay to the nearby park and waterways around Orchard Beach. It encourages teachers to use the story of the Native American Siwanoy who used to inhabit the Bronx as a tool to teach history and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). By exploring how the Siwanoy used natural resources to survive, children will develop a deeper understanding of the role that nature plays in all cultures, thereby becoming stewards and caretakers of their own local environment.

Little Friends of the Museum

The Museum's newest program allows 2nd and 3rd grade students from P.S. 274 to help design, create, and prototype pieces of artwork that will be housed in the Museum's new permanent facility in Mill Pond Park. Throughout the school year, students will receive twice-weekly workshops from Museum Teaching Artists during their afterschool program (which takes place at Roberto Clemente State Park). Students also have the opportunity to visit several NYC museums and speak with local artists, designers, and curators to gain a deeper understanding of the artistic process involved in creating museum artwork.

Art Builds Community

In order to ensure that both local artists and Bronx children are integral to the design and creation of the BxCM facility, the Museum created the ABC initiative. By infusing our building space with art and artistic collaboration rooted in the borough, BxCM will uniquely represent the Bronx and the population we will most immediately serve. A key component of ABC is the launch of Little Friends of the Museum, which will partner Bronx children with a lead Museum teaching artist and ABC-selected artists in order to offer the students both a behind-the- scenes understanding of the artistic process and the opportunity to co-create site- specific installations. It will expose the children to the professional art world, allow them to deepen their understanding of artistic expression, and include studio visits. Importantly they will be able to offer their child-expert input to those prototyping installations, allowing artists to benefit from a child’s perspective and children to develop voice and self-confidence.

 

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For questions regarding the Museum and its programs, please contact Nicole Wallace.



Email:

nicole@bronxchildrensmuseum.org

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BRONX CHILDREN'S MUSEUM

PO Box 1381

Bronx, New York  10451-9998



Email: info@bronxchildrensmuseum.org

Tel: 347-971-2155

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